Joining the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education Multi-Academy Trust
Why are St Stephen’s informally consulting on joining the SDBE MAT?
- To support and develop St Stephen’s as a one-form entry school in a landscape of change.
- To provide the school with high quality services to support the day-to-day leadership and management of the school.
- To have access to high quality professional development for our staff.
What is the SDBE MAT mission statement?
- “Creating inspiring learning communities where all can grow and flourish, rooted in God’s love, bearing fruit abundantly”
What is a multi- Academy Trust?
- A Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is where a number of academies join to form a single Trust with a Board of Trustees.
- The Trust’s role is to ensure that individual Academies are performing to the best of their ability and that they get the support and challenge that they require.
- Each school has a Local Governing Body (LGB). The LGB has responsibility for the ongoing governance of the school. It is comprised of the members of the current governing body and the SDBE MAT delegates much of the decision making for the school to it.
Why the SDBE MAT?
- They believe a school's identity is sacrosanct – that who we are as a school community should be protected.
- They work with the SDBE schools to improve educational standards and financial performance so that our pupils get the best opportunities in life.
- They provide almost endless opportunities for staff development and the sharing of best practice.
- They offer a large range of services to our schools, replacing some of those costly services that a school may currently buy into, including School Improvement, Human Resource management, Health and Safety, Payroll, etc.
- The SDBE MAT started in 2016 and has 12 schools at present, with others school’s joining at this present time.
What will stay the same?
- St Stephen’s unique identity (no branding)
- Our name
- Our ethos – Christian Distinctiveness
- Our values and vision
- Our uniform
- Our staff
- Our admissions process being overseen by Lewisham
- Our Governors- who will have delegated authority
What will change?
- The SDBE MAT will be responsible and accountable for the school rather than the Local Authority.
- The academy is funded directly by the Government not through the Local Authority. (Lewisham, however, continues to have a statutory duty of responsibility for areas such as SEN, child protection and attendance.)
- The MAT will have ultimate responsibility even though they delegate duties such as budgets, curriculum and staffing to the governors as is the case at present with the LA.
- As a Church of England school, we are not allowed to join any other MATs.
- Our only other options – to become a stand-alone academy or not change.
- Once the school converts to an academy, there is no route, under current legislation, to return to being a voluntary aided school.
- Should the governors decide to join, the earliest will be the April 2024.
What happens next?
- Once the informal consultation stage is completed, and we have addressed any questions from staff, parents and carers, we move on to the formal consultation stage when we talk with Unions about the proposal.